Childhood Dream: When We Were Growing Up, We Wanted to Be…

One year ago, on a typical sunny SoCal winter day, the two of us met in a small, stuffy classroom in Humanities Hall. The class was called Introduction to Reporting, a lower-division literary journalism class. It was an hour and 20 minutes of our day where we could geek out over the things we loved about journalism. But what led us to dive into the world of Literary Journalism at UCI?

We’ve discussed this at length, attempting to trace our decision-making process. Our paths brought us back to our pre-collegiate lives, back when we were idealistic middle school kids, and we’ve come down to the two major influences on our lives: Rory Gilmore and Sabrina Spellman.

We grew up with “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” watching her go from awkward high school outcast with magical powers to awkward, but cool, journalism major with magical powers. We watched “Gilmore Girls” with our moms and wished we were the smart, beloved, Ivy League-bound Rory, who was wanted by the top East Coast universities. Though we don’t have magical powers and we may not have applied for the top Ivy League schools, we still aspired to be exactly like those two bold, empowering girls.

Whether most people will admit it or not, we’ve all had our dreams of the future influenced by the television shows and movies we watched as kids. It didn’t matter how inaccurately certain jobs were portrayed.

We have to admit: We didn’t settle on journalism immediately. It took awhile to get to that point because many other professions that we didn’t even really understand charmed us first. Cases in point:

Amanda: I was a strange kid. I realize this when I look back on my past professional ambitions.

One of my earliest desires was to be a scientist. With time, that evolved to astronaut. Why? Because space is awesome – as evidenced by “Star Wars.” After watching “Mission to Mars” and “Red Planet,” my future was absolutely decided. I was obsessed with star charts and telescopes for a couple months before I realized that space is actually kind of terrifying. “Armageddon” showed me that space contains large rocks that could end the world and “Alien” showed me that there are beings that want nothing more than to reside in my viscera. I’m not down for either of those things.

The older I grew and the more I saw led me to completely confirm my decision against space exploration as a career. “2001: A Space Odyssey” introduced the idea that computers could turn against me if I was left alone in space with them and select episodes of the “Twilight Zone” showed me the absolute horror of pure isolation. I’m too much of an extrovert for space, really. I’m more suited for watching movies about space with large groups of people in the comfort of my living room.

I also wanted to be an archaeologist, thanks to “Indiana Jones.” I watched the Discovery Channel and the History Channel constantly, soaking up all the mysteries of the past: human sacrifices, lost cities, biblical archaeology, mummification, pyramids — I was all for all of it.  Then “The Mummy” came out to stroke the fire. Ah, Egypt was where it all was for 11-year-old Amanda, so much so that I decided to take on a more specialized career: Egyptology.

Yes, that is a career. Egyptology is a branch of archaeology, and I would argue that it is the cooler of the branches of archaeology. Mummies, hieroglyphics, pharaohs, Isis and Anubis, temple architecture and ancient empires galore!

Actually, I think deep down I may still wish this were my career path.

Traci: While I didn’t share Amanda’s adventurous dreams, I had my own fair share of ambitious goals. I wanted so very much to fight crime in spandex like a real Power Ranger until I was informed by my first grade teacher that it wasn’t a realistic profession. I focused on finding a real job and settled on wanting to be a science teacher after a Saturday morning marathon of “The Magic School Bus.” Ms. Frizzle made teaching look so fun. How cool would it be to shrink a bus and fly it up a kid’s nose?

“It’s just a cartoon,” that same dream-killing teacher told me. “You can’t actually do that.”

It was time to set my sights on some other (realistic) goal, and nothing says “realistic” like the Olympics, right? Here it was, real people doing real things. I could be one of them. I quickly decided on becoming a professional ice skater and dreamt of a gold medal around my neck. Unfortunately, my one (and only) attempt at ice skating ended disastrously with me on the ground, face first into the ice. Looks like there’d be no gold medals for me.

Shortly after my figure skating career ended, I became obsessed with “Clueless,” both the movie and the bad TV spin-off series. “That’s what I want to be when I grow up,” I told my mom.

“I don’t get it,” she replied.

“Rich,” I said. “I want to be rich.”

Looks like my seven-year-old self never got that reality check she needed.